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When Will You Find Peace?

On June 7, 1972, the North Vietnamese Army the South Vietnamese town of Trang Bang. One of the tactics used by the North Vietnamese Army was to hide among the villagers because it helped avoid airstrikes and artillery. While there were videos of the beginning of the Vietnam War, one picture shocked the U.S. public about the terror of the Vietnam war. This photo was of a 9 year old girl who soon became known as the “Napalm Girl”.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.

This one gut-wrenching photograph illustrated the complete opposite of peace. Nearly a half century later, war has taken on new forms. Following protests and rioting in 2020 across the United States, some neighborhoods have become a war zone with violence breaking out nearly every weekend. As concerned citizens come to grips this wave of unrest, many troubled souls are wondering, “when will I find peace?”

Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace (the peace of His kingdom) at all times and in all ways [under all circumstances and conditions, whatever comes]. The Lord [be] with you all, 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

The apostle Paul provides advice for anyone searching for peace in the passages above. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by anxiety and worry, Paul suggests that prayer should be used as a hedge of protection. Whatever you are facing or about to go through, lift up these concerns to God. Meanwhile, give thanks for all circumstances, good, bad or indifferent so that peace of God will begin to provide tranquility and assurance to your soul. As you practice Paul’s advice, may you find the peace of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Behind the Tears

If you enjoy binge watching shows on Netflix, then you will see how Hollywood screenwriters reveal a character’s past.  As a film or series unfold, bad, evil or troubled souls have a flashback which unveil secret scars.  Whether someone was abused, beaten, criticized, teased or verbally assaulted, behind the tears explains why someone has turned out to be the person that they have become.  Although this new information provides some insight into behavior patterns, it doesn’t justify wrong actions.

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them, Luke 7:37-38.

In the passage above, a first centurion woman had chosen to become a prostitute.  Although Luke doesn’t share the details of why she chose this lifestyle, she doesn’t seem very happy or fulfilled.  Based upon her tears, this erotic expression of love left a void in this woman’s heart.  Perhaps, Jesus’ message of being saved from sin led this woman to crash a social party.  While the whole room was judging her due to her tarnished reputation, Jesus enabled himself to be anointed by a well known harlot.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little,” Luke 7:44-47.

In 1992, an alternate praise group called the Violet Burning released the Song of the Harlot.  Appearing on the Strength album, this song illuminates this passage in the Bible.  The author places an interesting stanza within the lyrics “I’ve cried a million tears maybe more so many times I have been the whore.”  Behind the tears, individuals try to grasp why sinful tendencies have become too overwhelming to control.  While most do not choose the path of a harlot, other addictions often steal the joy for life.  The only consolation for sinners enslaved by addiction is the promise of forgiveness proclaimed by Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

An Anchor for the Soul

Prior to the Bronze Age, ships typically relied on rocks as an anchor.  The ancient Greeks placed several placed rocks, bags of sand or wooden logs filled with lead into a basket.  Leading up to the 19th century, the manufacturing process of anchors was imperfect.  The curve feature of modern anchors did not appear until 1813 when Pering, a clerk from Plymouth Yard introduced this feature.  Time has perfected this vital piece of equipment, saving the lives of countless crewmen from running aground during the storms of life.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, Hebrews 6:19.

According to the author of Hebrews, hope is a spiritual anchor for the soul.  Without signs of hope, the human spirit can wilt, pushed to a breaking point.  If you ever feel like giving up, the Bible provides a valuable solution.  When an individual throws an anchor overboard, the bottom is invisible, relying on the tension of the chain to determine if you’ve struck the bottom.  In the same way, God’s unchanging nature is rock solid, fulfilling the promises He has made in the past.  This is the anchor for troubled souls.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up, Galatians 6:9.

Every day on earth is like taking a journey out to sea.  You never know what you will find, who or what you will encounter and how quickly the weather will change.  When the unexpected arises, who will you trust?  Some have gotten into the habit of relying in their own abilities.  Although God has given everyone certain qualities, leaning on the Lord will help you ride out troubled waters.  Whatever life throws at you, don’t forget about the anchor for the soul.

by Jay Mankus

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